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Rep. Jordan Ulery
Sunday, April 29, 2012

Lot of misinformation out there about ALEC these days

Guest Commentary

Recently, there has been a spat of hate letters regarding the nation’s oldest and largest public-private discussion group, the American Legislative Exchange Council. 

This organization allows legislators from across the nation to gather to discuss common problems and developing issues.  Joining the legislators are various advocacy groups, including Amnesty International and various prison ministry groups. 

Yes, there are those “evil” business interests present. You know them; they are the ones that employ you, pay your wages, provide access to group health insurance, pay for your vacation and pay for workers’ compensation. Businesses, the heartbeat of America without which this nation would fold. 

As that rather taciturn New Englander, President “Silent Cal” Coolidge, once said, “The business of America is business.”

It is interesting that separate authors in separate newspapers penned exactly the same letter to the editor. It is almost as if the authors did not do any research, do any analysis and just sent in the letter they were told to send. 

Interesting, indeed, that separate people could present the same mischaracterizations, “less than accurate” statements and plain old lies. Yet, if you ask any of them, they would likely say, “Oh, no, I did it all by myself.”

Let us be absolutely clear.  Bills for introduction in New Hampshire come from New Hampshire, but they may be similar to those in other states. That is the result of open and frank discussion between legislators without partisan bickering. 

The ALEC “model” legislation is debated in committee – called a task force – and often takes several years to reach a resolution that is acceptable to the broad majority, not an elite select few.  A similar process is used by the National Conference of State Legislatures, which former House Speaker Terri Norelli, D-Portsmouth, will soon head. 

After the idea is vetted by a task force, it is presented to the board of directors and then as a reference for members.  It is not mandated.

The model legislation is just that, a proposal vetted by legislators across the nation to address a common problem.  It is available for any member legislator to modify to his or her state’s needs. 

Gee, efficiency, responsiveness and responsibility in the legislative branch to benefit each of us – what an idea.

As for not protecting individual taxpayer rights, that is a complete and total falsehood.  Consider CACR 6, which was introduced in the House, passed the House, modified by the Senate and is awaiting a Committee of Conference. 

That bill would modify the New Hampshire Constitution to require modification on spending – the exact wording varies by chamber. It was based upon a distillation of ideas presented at various ALEC conferences.  Seems to me that protects taxpayers. 

The number of pro-taxpayer, ALEC-inspired bills is too long to mention here. One need only go to to see the broad scope of ALEC initiatives. 

Of course, that would presume the robot letter writers were interested in the truth, rather than the prefabricated political agenda of their commissars.

In case the next attack is that I have a vested interest in ALEC, let it be known that all legislators pay a membership fee to join.  All legislators pay registration and room fees to attend conferences.  No legislator receives “pay” or benefits from ALEC or from a corporation as a result of their membership or as a result of bills brought forward or supported. 

These attacks are simply politically motivated ad hominem attacks designed to deflect attention from the real issues facing New Hampshire: the loss of business because of high business taxes; budget deficits; the transfer of Medicaid costs to the state because of Obamacare, and the continual erosion of personal liberties and freedoms as the result of regulations, rules and federal laws.

Rep. Jordan Ulery, R-Hudson, is a member of the House of Representatives and a state co-chairman for ALEC. This piece reflects his own views and wasn’t written on behalf of the organization.